The Final Mile: Challenge or Opportunity?
Final mile logistics is attracting a lot of interest for many reasons, but the most obvious is the growth in e-commerce markets. While companies have opportunities to gain new customers by offering more buying and delivery options, these often same-day home deliveries do not come without challenges.
In fact, final mile deliveries can be among the most expensive transportation segments in a supply chain. There are costs associated with scheduling times for appointments. If a delivery requiring a signature is missed because the recipient is not home, it can result in extra trips, more driver time, and additional administrative tasks.
Not only is final mile logistics costly in terms of assets and providers, but a poor home delivery experience can also have a negative impact on a company’s brand. In some instances, the final mile delivery is the first personal contact between the consumer and the product. Myriad situations can turn a positive perception into a negative. Is the driver late? Does he get mud on a consumer’s rug or trip over the family dog? Is the product packaging damaged? Any one of these scenarios can degrade the buyer experience.
Clearly, home delivery is not a new concept. Door-to-door delivery is as old as commerce itself. What is new is the expectation for faster and faster deliveries from the point of purchase. And, indications are that accelerated demands will become normalized. In fact, a recent report shows that 50 percent of millennials desire even quicker deliveries.
While companies are beginning to look at emerging, less traditional final mile options, such as Uber-type delivery services or crowdsourcing, most are just “kicking the tires,” rather than making major changes. There are a number of reasons for this wait-and-see approach. In the meantime, an advanced transportation management system (TMS) can help you conquer the challenges of final mile delivery as you leverage the opportunities of e-commerce sales.